Trotter finishes 7th in national VFW contest
LVN Editor Emeritus
To listen to Ashby’s speech go to https://www.vfw.org/community/youth-and-education/youth-scholarships and click on winning essays.
Ashby Trotter, a junior at Churchill County High School, is this year’s seventh-place winner in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy speech contest.
Trotter represented the VFW Department of Nevada, and was awarded the $4,000 Department of Indiana and Auxiliary Scholarship & Department of New Jersey Howard E. Vander Clute Scholarship. She had to go through three levels before the national competition. She won the local contest, then District 4 (Churchill, Mineral and northern Nye counties) and finally the State of Nevada.
VFW Post 1002 and its Auxiliary conducted the local contest.
Trotter competed against first-place students from other states and territories in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Judges listened to every student’s recorded essay. She received an all-expense paid trip to visit the nation’s memorials and monuments with other winners and also attended a special leadership conference.
“This was a great opportunity,” she said. “The people were nice, no conflicts win or lose, and everyone was a winner.”
What Trotter will remember most are the various tours she and the other contestants took during their week in the nation’s capital. On the first day, they visited Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, and the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
“That was quite an experience, very powerful,” she said of the museum.
Totter said the display with the victim’s shoes was very impactful.
On the second day, the students visited Arlington National Cemetery and the Newseum. They experienced both the changing of the guard and the wreath, and at the Newseum, they saw Pulitzer Prize-winning photos and parts of the World Trade Center’s radio tower from 911 and the Berlin Wall.
Trotter said she was moved with their trip to the war memorials and monuments.
“I saw someone put flowers on the Vietnam Wall,” she said, adding she has an uncle’s name included on the memorial.
Before their dinner where the winner was announced, she said the veterans gave a standing ovation to the contestants.
Trotter said she has been involved with speech contests since she was a student at Logos Academy and has continued to enter contests in high school. She would also like to enter the Voice of Democracy next year because of her experience.
“Thank you, VFW,” she said. “Everyone there was a winner. They (VFW) were so good to us. It was a great experience.”
The top three winners were from Pennsylvania, Arizona and New Jersey. Christine Troll of Somerset, Pennsylvania, is the first-place winner, and she will receive a $30,000 scholarship paid directly her American university, college or vocational/technical school of her choice
This year’s theme was “Why My Vote Matters.” A list of students and their speeches may be found on https://www.vfw.org/community/youth-and-education/youth-scholarships.
The Voice of Democracy provides high school students the opportunity to prepare and then record a “democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay,” according to the VFW, which began the program in 1947.